Wisconsin police chief joined Oath Keepers in 2017

Town of Dover Water Patrol Chief Josh Martinson’s name was on a leaked membership list of Oath Keepers. The chief says he “cut ties” after learning “what they stood for.”

A photo of Dover Water Patrol Chief Josh Martinson.
Dover Water Patrol Chief Josh Martinson in a photo he posted to Facebook in 2022.


The police chief of the Town of Dover Water Patrol signed up for membership with the Oath Keepers, the right-wing, anti-government group involved in the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Chief Joshua Martinson, who has been employed by the Dover Water Patrol since 2015, according to the Wisconsin Department of Justice, joined the Oath Keepers in 2017.

“The group was described to me as a group for veterans of military branches and law enforcement officers because we took oaths,” he wrote in an email to The Badger Project.

“It wasn’t til I found out more about the group and what they stood for and what they were about that I cut ties with them a couple months after signing up,” Martinson wrote. “I never attended an event or displayed any of their materials ever.”

“Haven’t really thought about them since I found out (what) they were really about,” he added.

The Oath Keepers list also includes members’ personal information such as home addresses, phone numbers and email addresses, which The Badger Project is not publishing.

The Town of Dover Water Patrol polices Eagle Lake in town and the adjacent park, homes, businesses and other areas along the shore. It operates mostly during the summer. Martinson’s position is part-time.

The Town of Dover is in Racine County in the southeastern part of the state.

More than 38,000 people across the United States are listed on the Oath Keepers membership roll, which The Badger Project obtained from the journalism organization Distributed Denial of Secrets. DDoSecrets calls itself “a publisher and archive for data leaked in the public interest.”

The organization received the list from an anonymous source, presumably through a hack of Oath Keepers’ records, DDoSecrets Editor-in-Chief Lorax Horne said.

A recent investigation by The Badger Project found three other Wisconsin law enforcement officers on the list, one at the Milwaukee Police Department and two at the Bayside Police Department in the Milwaukee suburbs.

A 2022 investigation by the Anti-Defamation League found at least 600 names on the list were elected officials, law enforcement officers, military members and first responders from across the U.S., including six elected officials in Wisconsin.

One of those Wisconsin politicians, Gary Halverson, resigned from the Madison City Council after the investigation broke, citing threats and vandalization of his home after the ADL revealed that his name was on Oath Keepers’ membership rolls. Halverson told news outlets he did not properly vet the organization before signing up and quit shortly after joining.

In November 2022, Stewart Rhodes, founder and leader of Oath Keepers, and Kelly Meggs, leader of its Florida chapter, were found guilty of seditious conspiracy and other crimes related to the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Rhodes was sentenced in May to 18 years in prison and three years of supervised release. Meggs’ sentence was 12 years in prison and three years of supervised release.

A trio of other defendants — Thomas Caldwell, Kenneth Harrelson and Jessica Watkins — all leaders and associates of the Oath Keepers, also were found guilty of related charges in November 2022. In May, Harrelson was sentenced to 48 months in prison and 24 months of supervised release; Watkins to 8.5 years in prison and 36 months of supervised release.

The organization, now known as “Oath Keepers USA,” says on its website its mission is to “honor our Oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic,” according to its website.

The website also states that the new organization is a “distinct and separate legal entity” from the previous “Oath Keepers” group.

In addition, the site says “we believe that America is being intentionally forced down the wrong path by corrupt tyrants.”

The Badger Project is a nonpartisan, citizen-supported journalism nonprofit in Wisconsin.

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